My wife sometimes likes to watch mindless TV to wind down after a day. There are few shows more mindless than Millionaire Matchmaker, but occasionally you do find good advice where you least expect it.
Patty Stanger, “The Millionaire Matchmaker,”insists that her clients create a list of five non-negotiables for a potential mate. It may be that they must love kids, or sailing, or are vegan. Whatever.
This is, however, an excellent exercise for you to do as you begin a job search. Don’t apply for any old job, because it’s better than the one you have. Figure out what is important to you. It may be more sunshine than rain, it could be you want to be able to ride your bike to work, your spouse may not be able to find work in certain parts of the country because of what they do. Ok, eliminate the cities and states that don’t fit into your non-negotiables and start from there.
Your non-negotiable may be more about the job itself; you want to work for a certain company, in a specific role (host vs. anchor, PD vs. GM) or you want to be at an established station with a history in the format.
The key is to figure out what is important to you and your family’s happiness. Over the years, I’ve offered jobs to dozens of people and I can’t remember how many times, after completing the whole interview process, flying them to the city I was in at the time and negotiating salary, the offer was rejected because the spouse didn’t want to move – not to this specific city, but anywhere. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and have those conversations before you begin looking for new work.
Do not just do this in your head. Get out a piece of paper and write down your non-negotiables. If the job you are considering doesn’t meet ALL of the non-negotiables, don’t bother applying.
So, today is rivalry Saturday. What makes this day so special? It’s not that USC and Notre Dame are battling for anything, but self-respect. Ohio State isn’t really worried about Michigan, other than it’s another game they have to play before claiming yet another Big Ten title. The second longest rivalry in college football features 3-8 Kansas vs. 9-2 Missouri. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Virginia and Virginia Tech, Florida and Florida State; these aren’t good games or evenly matched. So, why do we care so much? Because of the history, tradition, a sense of urgency, the story lines we’ve created and because we’ve named it.
Yes, we’ve done a great job of making something out of nothing.
So what would happen if you, as a talk show host or programmer, decided to treat every game like a rivalry? Find the story lines, find out the history, create a sense of urgency, make the game relevant to the listener even if it’s not relevant in the tradition sense of going for a title and name it? What if everyone tried a little harder to make bad match ups more interesting instead of complaining openly how poor the match-up is?
Somewhere along the line, some one had to that for these games. Look at each day, each game as an opportunity for YOU to entertain, even if the game doesn’t.
This week Westwood One launches its new show prep service exclusively for the sports format.
I checked out the soft-launch last week and am impressed. This is a great resource for producers and hosts, especially those who don’t have a lot of production support at their radio station.
During my test run, the first thing I was hit with links to the Top 10 stories of the day. Then I scrolled down sport by sport (NFL, NBA, NHL, College Hoops, Media, Kickers, and more) with more links and instant access to 3-5 post-game audio clips for each game and sometimes preview sound too. For instance, on Tuesday, following the Eagles’ shellacking of the Redskins on Monday Night, there were 11 different links to stories and columns and 10 audio clips, including post-game reaction from Vick, Reid, McNabb and Shanahan plus play-by-play highlights and audio from McNabb’s agent on his new deal. As a former host and anchor, I would have liked more than two play-by-play highlights, and more than the one piece of audio from Vick. But, there is no doubt this service will save hosts and producers a lot of wasted hours scanning the internet for stories.
Afterwards I emailed with David Brody about the new service. He’s excited about how useful the service will be. “We’re all searching for killer topics that we can turn into great radio, and our service will deliver those topics to you with one click of your mouse. No need to spend endless hours reading all the newspapers and searching the web for audio when we’ve done the work for you,” said Brody.
At Westwood One, Affiliate Sales EVP Dennis Green tells LET’S TALK ABOUT IT, “As a former producer, I’m convinced having this tool available is something that will make the job of a sports producer much easier.”
Green notes the response has been great. The service started in full on Monday and already 18 stations have signed up. Westwood One is offering free trials to any station.
For more information on the sports prep service, contact Westwood One’s Rich Burg at Richard_Burg@WestwoodOne.com
A year ago, I was driving in my car and longing for some holiday spirit. I knew there was a station in town playing Christmas music full-time, but wasn’t sure which one. So, I scanned until I found it. I gave it one of my car radio pre-sets and listened to it on and off through the holidays. A year later, that station is still a pre-set. In PPM world, I’m a P5 or P6, but where before in the diary world, I would never acknowledge having listened to it, now every couple of weeks for a year this station picked up an extra quarter-hour or so. And now, Christmas music is back full-time, a week earlier than last season, and I’m already listening.
You say, “Great Larry, thanks. I can’t play Christmas music.”
Do you have the Super Bowl? March Madness? A Play by Play franchise? or are you the “election station?” Maybe you own the big story or controversy in town. If not, consider what it is your station offers that is of the highest quality in your market making it worth while to non-traditional listeners of your radio station. If it’s traffic then you need to be THE station for traffic. It doesn’t necessarily need to be something people THINK they need. Afterall, nobody was clamoring for a month of non-stop Christmas music.
Maybe you can be the station for High School football scores or the station that talks sex on Friday nights. Whatever it is, find it, own it, leverage it. Niche programming, even one time events, can impact your ratings all year-long.
HOST vs PERSONALITY
There are a lot of “hosts” on radio and some of them are very good. They do the basics well, they talk about the right stories, they are likeable, and they never embarrass themselves or their bosses.
CBS Radio Programming VP Bruce Gilbert says, “Being a good host is nothing to be ashamed of, but if you really want to make huge money, cut through and achieve significant ratings you must advance from “host” to “personality.”
Gilbert admits the true radio personality is rare and exceptional. He created this chart to demonstrate the subtle but important distinctions and has graciously agreed to share it with us all.
|Knows the Science of Radio||vs||Knows the Art of Radio|
|Harsh & Pretentious||vs||Self-Deprecating (imperfect, human, lives life)|
|Reads Stories||vs||Tells Stories|
|Know More Than You||vs||Never Assumes They Know More Than You|
|Meander||vs||Always Knows Where They Are Going|
|In Hurry||vs||Develops Over Time|
|Always Goes With First Thought||vs||Always Explores New Angles|
A good personality will generate complaint calls to your office, fans will call for him to be fired, he/she will make you nervous or uncomfortable from time to time, and you will have to protect them. He/she also will increase your station’s ratings and revenue.
The Michael Vick Show is back on the air. After Vick’s unbelievable performance last night, I began to understand that he is truly a talented football player. Did he make mistakes? You bet. Is what he did to those dogs forgettable? Hardly. However, this is America, a land built on second chances; just ask Jimmy Carter, Mike Tyson, Jay Leno, and on and on and on.
It got me thinking, if Vick were a talk host and not an NFL QB, he’d probably have to be fired, because he’s too off brand, too hard to coach, too unpredictable, makes management uncomfortable, and he doesn’t appeal to the core fan. This happens everyday in radio. Vick may have just posted the highest ratings anyone can remember, but that success would be reasoned away by management as a fluke. (That’s what managers say when ratings don’t tell the story they need it to tell.)
I get asked often, where are radio’s next stars? I have to guess working in retail, telemarketing or serving burgers and fries, because they were turned away for being too unique, too different, too interesting, and possibly too talented. It may be time to dust off the old resumes and see if some of the talent you passed up for not fitting your mold, maybe ready to start for you now. Or, you can let your station’s Kevin Kolb continue to fill time. A Vick-style personality draws fans to him with his talent. A Kolb-style host inherits listeners who are fans of the station. A Vick-style personality will make you nervous as a manager. A Kolb-style host will make you comfortable. A Vick-style personality will generate angry calls to your office demanding he be fired. Fans won’t call about a Kolb-style host. In fact, they may not even remember his name. If you are reading this and are still wondering who Kevin Kolb is, I’ve made my point.
Be bold. Take a chance. Play to win. Hire a personality.
Cowherd will serve as a producer on the sitcom, which comes from CBS TV Studios. Could this mean a move to the West Coast for Cowherd who has talked openly about wanting to live in LA?
Please reply with suggestions for which actor should play Colin and what you would title the show.
Today, we dive into the mind of Owen Murphy. Full disclosure: Owen worked for me at the ESPN Radio Network. Owen is a 15-year vet of radio; producing, hosting and PD-ing. He’s worked with some of the most forward-thinking brands in the biz; MTV, MLB.com, ESPN (Mike & Mike, Dan Patrick) and KIRO, among others.
Larry Gifford: When you started in radio, what were your expectations?
Owen Murphy: I had no expectations. Only excitement regarding the opportunity placed in front of me. This was in 1995 as digital editing was beginning, and to see sound waves go across a computer screen was incredibly exciting. My first radio job was producing a college radio show for MTV. Artists like Elliot Smith, The Wedding Party, Frank Black, etc., all came through to record interviews, acoustic sets and to play DJ. Then they would leave and I would get to mix their music to my satisfaction. It was an incredibly creative endeavor, as is talk radio now, and that in itself is the main reason I love what we do.
Giff: You’ve produced, hosted and been a PD for sports talk. What about these jobs excites you most?
Owen: Seeing others maximize their potential and then hearing it in the speakers.
Giff: What are key factors in producing remarkable content?
Owen: In terms of talk radio, the most important factor to producing great content is talk talent. It begins and ends with them. How one supports and coaches them is also critical, and through a series of successes and failures, I’ve come to understand that there is no substitute for positive reinforcement.
Giff: What happened that made you understand that so well?
Owen: Two things:
1. Watching great talent struggle at times to create content…and sometimes I was at fault. It caused me to really simplify my approach to coaching talent by giving them very simple instructions and goals thus allowing them to hit those goals and win on a daily basis.
2. Co-hosting a sports talk show and both doing a great job of preparing and delivering great content while also getting that pit-in-the-stomach-feeling that I had not done a good enough job of preparing.
Giff: You mentioned “great talent.” How do you define great talent?
Owen: Talent that is energetic, unique, entertaining and thought-provoking. There’s so much you can do with someone like that. I don’t need “pipes” or someone who is smooth…I want someone who stands out and delivers while not following perceived rules of talk radio. Kevin Calabro is a great example of this. He’s a Seattle superstar because of his time as the voice of the Sonics, and he built a name nationally by being quite possibly the best NBA play-by-play guy in the country via passionate and unique calls. There is literally no one on radio like Kevin, thus I built an imaging campaign around that idea. “There’s only one Kevin Calabro, and you can only hear him on 710 ESPN Seattle.” Give me a year with someone like that and I will give you a top-5 show. The Kevin Calabro Show is consistently now a top-5 show, and often top-2 and top-3 and he’s only scratched the surface of what he can do.
Contact Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his cell 206.478.6357